For everything you need to know about wedding planning, order "How to Have a Lovely Wedding." Send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby, Wedding Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, Ill. 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)
DEAR ABBY: I am a sailor in the U.S. Navy, stationed in Sasebo, Japan. After serving 11 years of active duty and visiting several different countries as a single sailor, I finally tied the knot with a beautiful Filipino woman I met in Manila. She had been a high school teacher. I love her dearly. She was (and still is) everything I could possibly want in a wife.
Being in the Navy requires me to go out to sea quite often, which puts a hardship on our marriage because of the long separations. We're handling the situation pretty well, and we make up for lost time when I get home.
My problem is my wife. Being from the Philippines, she knows the reputations of sailors in foreign ports. American sailors bring American dollars ashore, and most of them are looking for entertaining ways to spend them. (Most foreign ports have "ladies for hire.") However, I do not, and would never in a million years, cheat on my wife, especially with a lady who just wanted my money.
When I must go to foreign ports, my wife drives me crazy with her suspicions. I have tried my best to convince her that I'm not like the American sailors who have a "sweetheart" in every port.
Abby, can you please advise me on how to put my wife's suspicions to rest? -- SASEBO SAILOR
DEAR SAILOR: If your wife doesn't trust you out of her sight even though you have done nothing to justify her suspicions, your marriage is too fragile to endure.
Arrange for her to see the base chaplain for counseling. She needs to fill her time with activities that she will find rewarding. Since she is a qualified high school teacher, if she's not currently working, perhaps she could do some substitute teaching during your absence.
Keep her busy, or she'll drive you dizzy!
DEAR ABBY: Some time ago, I wrote you about losing my brother. You answered my letter and also enclosed a poem called, "Do Not Stand at My Grave and Weep."
I was so moved by that poem, I shared it with my nephew and niece knowing that it would help to heal their grief over the loss of their parents.
Abby, I'm asking you to print it again to help others in the same situation. -- DAVID F. GIBONEY, PHOENIX
DEAR DAVID: "Do Not Stand at My Grave and Weep" is one of the most frequently requested poems I have ever printed. I regret that I have never been able to locate the author. Although many people have claimed to have written it, I have never been able to confirm any of the claims. Read on:
"Do not stand at my grave and weep,
"I am not there, I do not sleep.
"I am a thousand winds that blow;
"I am the diamond glints on the snow.
"I am the sunlight on ripened grain;
"I am the gentle autumn's rain.
"When you awaken in the morning's hush,
"I am the swift uplifting rush
"Of quiet birds in circled flight.
"I am the soft star that shines at night.
"Do not stand at my grave and cry.
"I am not there; I did not die."